Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dandies on Ice, 1818

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Isabella reporting,

Today the U.S. Figure Skating Association concluded their National Championships for another year, with extremely talented young athletes making all those jumps, spirals, and spins look effortlessly elegant.

That description does not apply to the dandies in this print.

Doubtless with visions of that same effortless elegance, these young fellow have dressed to the nines to venture out on the ice.  In the early 19th c., skating was a wonderful way to put one's self on display to admiring ladies, as well as to one another. But while these gentlemen have taken care that their neckcloths are perfectly pleated and their collars high over their years, they forgot that skating is anything but easy, and the results are not pretty. As one of them cries as he topples to the ice, "Oh Lord! How they are laughing at us!" (As always, click on the image to enlarge it.)

So while the title of this print may be Skaiting-Dandies, Shewing Off, I'm afraid the the only thing they're showing is their perfect dandified silliness.

Loretta and I both have a weakness for dandies. For more of their mishaps, see here, here, and here.

Above: Skaiting-Dandies, Shewing Off, by Charles Williams, 1818. Walpole Library, Yale University.


Hels said...

I wonder if even dandies were caricatured outrageously. Certainly their speech, behaviour and clothing invited ridicule, but how silly were they really? The first time a dandy tried to marry a sensible young woman would have been a moment of great awakening for him.

Sarah said...

I suspect like adherents to Goth, Emo and other styles of today, the dandies grew out of their infatuation with fashion once they found luurve. I never knew from week to week what colour my son's hair would be, but now it's fairly standard... in the same way, the teds and the mods and the rockers grew out of it....

Unknown said...

With the dandies bumbling around in the foreground, might those be a few athletes in the background playing hockey or more dandies swinging their walking sticks at something?

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